Preparing To Start Ship’s Main Engine

Before starting the main engine, the following checks and procedures are to be undertaken. All components that have been overhauled are to be checked and wherever possible “function tested”. All equipment, tools, and rags used during the overhaul are to be removed from the engine.


Air systems

a) Drain any water present in the starting air system
b) Drain any water present from the control air system at the receivers
c) Pressurise the air systems and ensure that the pressures are correct
d) Ensure compressed air is available at the exhaust valve ‘air spring’ closing cylinders


Marine Air Starting system


Lubricating oil systems

a) Check the oil level in the main engine sump and replenish if necessary
b) Start the main engine LO pump and a turbocharger LO pump
c) Ensure all of the oil pressures are correct
d) Ensure there is adequate oil flow for piston cooling and turbochargers
e) Check the oil level in the cylinder LO tank and that the supply to the lubricator is open. Check cylinder oil flowmeter is properly functioning and note the counter of the flowmeter


Cooling water systems

a) Ensure Main Engine Jackets are under normal circumstances, the main engine jacket water is continuously circulated through a preheater during the stay in port and are never allowed to cool down
b) Ensure that the cooling water system pressures are correct and that the systems are not leaking. Checks should be made again when the engine is at its correct operating temperature
c) Check the level of the expansion tank. An evident decrease in the water level of the expansion tank indicates leakage.


Slow turning the engine with the turning gear

Slow turning of the engine must be carried out to prevent damage caused by fluid leaking into any of the cylinders. Permission from the bridge must be sought before turning the engine. Pre-lubrication should be carried out. Always carry out the slow turning operation at the latest possible moment before starting.


Turning gear motor


a) Ensure the regulating handles are in the FINISHED WITH ENGINES position
b) Ensure all of the cylinder indicator cocks are open
c) Turn the engine one revolution with the turning gear. Check to see if fluid flows out of any of the indicator valves
d) Disengage the turning gear and ensure it is locked in the OUT position
e) Check that the indicator lamp for TURNING GEAR ENGAGED extinguishes


Slow turning the engine on starting air (blow through)

Permission must be sought from the bridge before turning the engine. The bridge should be asked for propeller clearance. Always carry out the slow turning at the latest possible moment before starting and within the last 30 minutes. Bring Main Engine to standby mode.


a) Select SLOW TURNING on the main engine operating panel if present or give a kick from the engine control room by moving the regulating handle to dead slow momentarily. When operating the telegraph from engine control, communicate with the bridge, they should follow your command on the telegraph. As the engine turns, check to see if any fluid flows out of the indicator cocks

b) When the engine has turned one revolution, move the regulating handle back to the STOP position

c) Close all of the indicator cocks. Also, close the turbocharger drains


Fuel oil system

a) Check the fuel oil supply pump and fuel oil circulating pump. If the engine was running on heavy fuel oil when stopped, the circulating pump and fuel heaters should still be running
b) Check the fuel oil pressures and temperatures. Check fuel oil flowmeters are properly functioning and note the counter of the flowmeter



a) Check that all of the engine instrumentation is reading correctly. If not, check the instruments and replace them as necessary
b) Check that all scavenge air receivers and box drains are open and that the test cocks are closed
c) Check that the engine top bracing system is in service
d) Check the thrust bearing temperature and lube oil pressure is in range. Check axial vibration damper and torsional vibration damper lube oil pressure is in range
e) Check the fuel leak-off alarm is functional. Check the level of fuel leak-off tank to notice any rise in level later due to leakage
f) Check the level of the scavenging drain tank, the tank should not be full, or else will lead to an overflow of scavenging spaces of the Main Engine
g) Check the governor is responding efficiently


2 Stroke Engine

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